The 16-year-old driver who in the parking lot of Hartland High School on May 15 is now believed to have been huffing prior to the incident, according to Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte.
The driver will be facing charges of reckless driving causing serious injury, possession of marijuana and use of an inhalant. The 15-year-old passenger will be facing charges of aiding and abetting, according to Bezotte.
According to Bezotte, Crime Stoppers informed the sheriff that the two teenagers in the car, the driver and a 15-year-old passenger had sprayed a household cleaner onto a rag and inhaled it.
Huffing, is used as a way to produce a high using cheap and legal products that someone can huff or inhale. Huffing produces similar results to intoxication including confusion, dizziness and the inability to coordinate movements.
“It was a household cleaner product from an aerosol can, they were huffing,” Bezotte said. “The driver of the vehicle, a 16-year-old, passed out at the wheel, that’s why he accelerated and couldn’t stop.”
The 15-year-old had then tried to steer the vehicle, but couldn’t reach the brake, which eventually struck Hartland High School security guard Sue Hazzard as she directed traffic leaving school grounds.
“It (car) went up over the curb over the other side, through the parking lot and well into the field before the vehicle came to a stop,” Bezotte said.
Before police were on scene, Bezotte says the two teenagers hid the aerosol can under the seat and the driver convinced the passenger to say he had dropped his cell phone as the reason for the accident.
“Once we talked to the 15-year-old, he came clean and admitted they had been huffing just prior to the accident,” Bezotte said.
The driver was given a blood test after the accident and the sheriff’s office is still waiting for the toxicology report which will take 6-8 weeks for results.
Hazzard, who was released from the hospital, according to Bezotte, is now home healing from her injuries.
“She’s made a miraculous recovery from where she was the day of the incident, for sure,” Bezotte said.